MC’s Chief Risk Officer to Retire

MasterCard’s Chief Risk Officer, Chris Thom, will retire from the company in October and a successor will be announced shortly. As Chief Risk Officer, Thom has overseen the Risk Management Group’s enterprise-wide risk management practices. Under his leadership, the group has been effective in reducing and preventing fraudulent use of MasterCard products, as well as expanding and enforcing compliance activities. Thom also chaired the MasterCard International Operations Committee and International Security Committee.

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FLEXI-RATE CARD

Barclaycard reports that its “Flexi-Rate” cardholders are repaying
credit card balances more quickly than ever. The “Flexi-Rate VISA,”
introduced in October, charges a lower interest rate to those customers
who pay off a higher proportion of their balance. Customers who pay more
than 10% of their monthly balance are charged an interest rate of 9.9%,
those who pay more than 5% are charged 12.9%. Customers who opt to pay
less than 5% (minimum 2%) are charged 16.9%. Barclaycard says it
recently introduced a new statement message to cardholders who have only
made the minimum payment in the previous six months, encouraging them to
lower their costs by paying more. Barclaycard has 11.2 million
cardholders in the UK.

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BofA Completes its SiteKey Program

Bank of America has completed the nationwide roll-out of its two-factor authentication service. This month, BofA launched the “SiteKey” service for online banking and credit card services in Washington and Idaho. The service is mandatory. With “SiteKey” customers pick one of thousands of images, write a brief phrase and select three challenge questions. The customer and the bank can pass that information securely back and forth to confirm each other’s identity. “SiteKey” is provided to BofA from PassMark Security.

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Lynch Takes the Helm at RightPath Payments

Dennis Lynch, former president and CEO of NYCE, has become CEO of RI-based start-up RightPath Payments. The Company announced this morning it has received a seed capital commitment from the Slater Technology Fund. RightPath’s “Business Payment Connection” is a patent-pending, Web-based software solution that automates and streamlines payment processes by replacing seller trade credit with a lender’s credit. RightPath is the business successor to Collaborative Financial Concepts of Waltham MA, the original developer of “BPC.” Lynch, formerly was chairman of the New England-wide “Yankee 24” ATM network, which merged into NYCE in 1994, and was also a SVP at Fleet Bank.

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Bogus Credit Card Draws a Big Fine

A federal judge has ordered Bad Credit B Gone to pay more than $322,000 in consumer redress for running a bogus credit repair operation. This action was a result of “Project Credit Despair,” a crackdown on 20 operations that deceptively claimed they could remove negative information from consumers’ credit reports – even if that information was accurate and timely. Under the court’s ruling, the defendants are permanently prohibited from misrepresenting that they can improve substantially most consumers’credit reports.

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Pipeline Data’s AIRCHARGE Service Expands

Pipeline Data’s AIRCHARGE subsidiary has been approved by the City of Philadelphia Water Department as its wireless payment solution provider. The “AIRCHECKZ” technology enables the City’s field representatives to securely accept checks from municipal customers over compatible mobile phones on the Sprint Nextel network. AIRCHARGE is also able to process wireless credit card payments over compatible Sprint Nextel mobile phones. After recently receiving software certification from Sprint Nextel, AIRCHARGE has released a BlackBerry solution for credit card processing complete with card swipe and printer device. To date, Pipeline Data services more than 25,000 accounts.

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Intersections Acquires Chartered Marketing

Virginia-based Intersections has acquired Chartered Marketing Services, a privately-held direct marketer of consumer-oriented insurance and membership products. CMSI distributes its products – primarily accidental death and membership programs for mortgage customers – through large financial institutions as well as directly to individuals. It has marketing relationships with the top 10 mortgage servicers nationwide and recently began offering its products to demand deposit account (DDA) and credit card account holders. In 2005 CMSI had revenues of $51 million.

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Monthly Payment Rates Retreat in April

Monthly payment rates for credit card-backed bonds began retreating in April after reaching historical highs early this year. The April figure was 250 basis points below March’s record of 22.1%. According to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, the average MPR for 2006 is 20.5%. The monthly payment rate over the past 12 months has averaged 19.5%. During this period only one month, last April, posted a rate lower than 18%. The higher payment rates have been primarily driven by higher minimum payments which were phased in during the fourth quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of this year.

ABS Monthly Payment Rates
Apr 05: 17.7%
May 05: 18.9%
Jun 05: 18.9%
Jul 05: 18.7%
Aug 05: 18.6%
Sep 05: 19.2%
Oct 05: 19.0%
Nov 05: 18.8%
Dec 05: 19.7%
Jan 06: 20.6%
Feb 06: 19.4%
Mar 06: 22.1%
Apr 06: 19.6%
Source: Standard & Poor’s

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EFMARK-Bantek Signs a Chicago Bank

Chicago-based ShoreBank has signed EFMARK-Bantek to provide a complete package of managed ATM Services for the bank’s ATM network. EFMARK-Bantek’s comprehensive solution for ShoreBank includes first and second-line ATM maintenance, cash replenishment, deposit pick-up, cash management, ATM supplies, ATM cleaning and branding programs for the bank’s 23 ATMs. The single point of contact for the customer allows for faster problem resolution, greater consistency and clear lines of accountability.

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GE Money Recognized By The Asian Banker

GE Money was recognized for its leadership and innovation at this year’s annual “Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards”, winning in 2 key categories — “Best Retail Non-Bank Financial Services Institution” (GE Thailand) and “Best Consumer Credit Product” (GE Singapore for “ezyCash”). GE Money has a global 10-year compound asset growth rate of more than 20% with net earnings surpassing USD 3 billion last year. With USD 163 billion in assets, GE Consumer Finance — branded-GE Money in Asia and a unit of General Electric Company– is a provider of credit services to consumers, retailers and auto dealers in approximately 50 countries around the world.

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VISA to Offer a Clear Card Discount

Some “VISA Signature” and “VISA Traditional Rewards” cardholders will be offered discounted memberships for the “Clear” registered traveler program. “Clear” members enroll and provide identification and biometric data, such as fingerprints and iris images at special kiosks in participating airports. The card enables members to quickly proceed through airport security checkpoints. VISA signed a marketing deal with Verified Identity Pass to offer the special benefit to its affluent cardholders. “Clear,” launched last July, is the first privately run registered traveler program operating at a U.S. airport. At Orlando International Airport there are 25,000 members. The card as also been selected for use at airports in San Jose, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Toronto. The program currently offers an introductory price of $79.95 per year, before special discounts.

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